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News: 05/01/2017

Oakmont’s election recount has same result

Construction of new pickleball courts terminated

A recount of a recent election of the Oakmont Village Association (OVA) Board of Directors did not change the original outcome for the winners, meaning that the controversial and divisive new pickleball courts will not be built.

Instead, according to an article by current OVA board president Ellen Leznik posted on Oakmont’s website, the new board will address repurposing two of four existing tennis courts at the community’s East Recreation Center, “with the potential to create six courts.” This will be discussed at the board’s May 2 meeting. Leznik wrote that this alternative to building brand new pickleball courts will speed up bringing pickleball to Oakmont, and keep costs down.

Before the recent OVA board elections, the previous OVA board had entered into a $310,000 contract (with a ten percent contingency) with Siri Construction to build four new courts in space near the Berger Center.

All through the process for planning the new courts, a number of Oakmonters objected to what they saw as excessive costs of the project, and argued against the proposed location of the courts.

The dispute prompted a slate of three candidates against the approved pickleball project to run for the board in a recent election that ran through the month of March, with all of them winning a seat. Soon after, a request for a recount request was filed, which was conducted on April 17, with the winners remaining the same.

At its April 18 meeting, the new board voted 5-2 to officially terminate the construction contract, but only after getting an earful from a number of Oakmont residents who said the board should honor the agreement with Siri Construction and go forward with building the new pickleball courts.

Speakers argued that the pickleball courts project had been studied and worked on for three years, and that there was no reason not to go forward. Some were also concerned about the financial ramifications of terminating the contract. Siri had actually performed about a day and a half of work on site before they were told to stop pending a decision by the new board.

The OVA attorney who was at the meeting said the language of the contract with Siri limits OVA’s exposure to the work costs actually incurred, and the overall wording of the contract gives OVA “good protection.”

But it is still unclear as to what the exact cost for terminating the contract will be.

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